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Title How often do parenteral nutrition prescriptions for the newborn need to be individualized?
Author(s) Beecroft C, Martin H, Puntis JW
Source Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 18, No. 2, Pages 83-85
Publication Date April, 1999
Abstract BACKGROUND: Parenteral nutrition is commonly given in the newborn period to premature infants or those with gastrointestinal disorders. Computer-assisted prescribing is widely used, with prescriptions for each patient being varied on a daily basis. It has previously been suggested that 'individualization' of feeds may have little clinical benefit whilst increasing pharmacy workload and costs. However, the scope for use of standard feed solutions as an alternative remains uncertain.METHODS: To assess the potential for using standardized pre-mixed feeds we prospectively reviewed 148 computer assisted prescriptions for newborn infants in order to establish how often the prescribing clinician adhered to the computer protocol, and the reason for modification when this occurred.RESULTS: Only one-fifth of feeds were based strictly on the computer recommendation with no, or minimal, modification. However, many of the deviations in the other four-fifths of feed prescriptions reflected a routine use of higher carbohydrate, sodium and phosphate intakes implying that a higher proportion of feeds could be 'standardized' if the computer regimens were modified to reflect current nutritional practices on the unit.CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the introduction of standard PN feeds could considerably reduce the use of computer assisted individualized PN prescriptions on the neonatal unit. The practical implications of such a system for pharmacy and the potential cost benefits deserve further investigation.

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